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GSA’s Javier Fernandez Takes Pride in Creating Transparency and Trust

Slightly smiling man with beard and glasses in a light gray jacket and blue button-up in front of greenery
GSA Region 9’s LPOE Communication Specialist Javy Fernandez

Javier Fernandez, also known as Javy, believes he has the best job at the U.S. General Services Administration’s (GSA) Pacific Rim Region. As a Communications Specialist based out of San Diego, California, his job is to make sure local stakeholders, bi-national communities and travelers alike are well informed about GSA’s Land Port of Entry (LPOE) projects along the U.S.-Mexico border and ultimately know how these construction projects will impact the local economy and travel.  

Whether it’s leading communication campaigns, helping to coordinate government or community meetings, writing stories or planning groundbreaking or ribbon cutting events, he puts his leadership, communications and people skills to the test and shines. Fernandez has been with GSA for 15 years and has served in his current role for the last 12 years. During that time he supported major modernization and expansion projects at the San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Calexico West, Mariposa, and San Luis Land Ports of Entry just to name a few.  

When asked about why he loves his job, he talked about the partnerships he’s developed with the various project teams and his colleagues at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S Consulate in Tijuana and other local agencies that have interests in the port projects. He also talked about his communication products having a direct impact on the individuals and commercial carriers who cross the border each and every day. 

“When I first joined the Region 9 Communications team, I was embraced by the project teams I was to support and they schooled me on the improvements that were needed and planned at each port,” said Fernandez. “They ensured I had the knowledge to help facilitate two-way communications with the local community and our partner agencies.”  

Smiling woman and man taking a selfie in front of a construction structure
Javier Fernandez provided support for GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan’s recent visit to Arizona.

His most impactful campaign to date was the San Ysidro LPOE Phase 3–5 Realign campaign in which Fernandez and his team were charged with planning and executing a comprehensive communication strategy to announce the complete closure of the I-5/I-805 South freeways at San Ysidro for a period of 57-hours. Recognizing this was a monumental task, Fernandez enlisted the help of other federal, state and local communications teams to ensure a consistent message was spread far and wide. 

57 Hour Closure
Javy and his colleagues coordinated media interviews at the San Ysidro LPOE during the 57-hour closure campaign.

“This was a three-month multifaceted campaign that heavily relied on stakeholder and media outreach, social media, video production, and the stand up of a dedicated web page,” said Fernandez. “Travelers not only responded to our ‘stay local, play local’ message, the Los Angeles Times lauded our communications campaign by reporting “To avoid a “Carmageddon” of epic traffic snarls, authorities from the CHP, the state DOT and GSA waged an informational campaign warning travelers of the freeway shutdown in the weeks leading up to the closure.”

“I can’t begin to describe the pride I felt at the end of that campaign when we could see through the lack of traffic that our message had been heard. I still feel a great deal of pride each and every day as I continue to support our LPOE projects,” he continued. “I’m a people-person at heart and I love being able to collaborate with our partner agencies and to know at the end of the day our communications make a difference.”

Fernandez also spoke about the support and autonomy he receives in managing his LPOE communications program. 

“At GSA I feel like I can really make a difference in leading the LPOE program and am empowered and supported by leadership to create a communications program that continues to grow. The teams I work with not only make work enjoyable but they are fully engaging, value one another’s contributions and create a circle of trust. The trust generated through these teams translates into trusted messaging that flows through the work that is accomplished here in GSA’s Pacific Rim Region.”